Looming Air Canada strike
Queen’s University labour relations expert and former Air Canada executive George Smith is available to discuss the possible Air Canada strike next week at the start of March break.
The federal government’s is hinting it may order Air Canada employees back to work – a move the Conservatives used against Canada Post and a previous Air Canada strike. Mr. Smith, a fellow in the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies, feels this is bad news for businesses and unions.
“We had strikes and lockouts over my 10 years at Air Canada and the government never had to intervene,” says Mr. Smith, a former Air Canada director of employee relations who negotiated multiple union contracts on behalf of the company. “This has all the appearances of the federal government doing what’s best for the country but really it’s a disaster. In a system that purports to have free collective bargaining in principal, the notion of back-to work legislation is offensive to both parties. If you are negotiating a difficult labour contract, the process is being taken out of your hands and the government will do it for you. The ‘showdown’ element which hurts in the short run but results in a fair settlement is gone. The net result will be labour agreements that are uncompetitive.”
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